After 24 rounds of footy and three weeks of finals, the top two teams in the competition will meet in the Grand Final.
After Collingwood got over the Giants, ending their unlikely run at the flag, the Lions welcomed Carlton to the house of pain, where Brisbane were undefeated in 2023. And as Lachie Neale aptly summed up in his post-game interview, they got punched in the face by the visitors.
Carlton burst out of the blocks, kicking five goals before the Lions had a chance to settle, applying pressure and sending a particularly loud segment of the Gabba crowd into raptures.
In years past, the Lions may have capitulated after a start like that. Their finals record, after so many top-four finishes, has not been great, with the Prelim their highest finish despite big seasons from 2019-2022. Many believed their best chance slipped through their fingers in 2020. They were out to prove those people wrong.
And they did just that with a spirited fightback to wrestle control away from the Blues, holding them to one goal for around two and a half quarters as they drew close, hit the front, and started to pull away from the visitors.
The Blues weren’t quite done for and fought back hard, but trailing the home team, they were forced to take gambles. And you guys know my stance on gambling… the odds of winning just aren’t that great.
Unsung hero, Darcy Gardiner’s long shot for goal was looking like it was going to sail through. It would have been a fitting ending to the contest, having already held dual Coleman Medallist, Charlie Curnow, to just one goal, but Lincoln McCarthy marked on the line. The strategy was sound and milked another thirty seconds off the clock before extending the Brisbane lead once more.
The Blues gave their best shot. The Lions took it and gave a few back of their own. And they hit hard.
When you look at the scores after quarter-time, the game was quite one-sided.
The Harris Andrews v Harry McKay matchup was great, Adam Saad was solid on Charlie Cameron, Josh Dunkley got the better of Patrick Cripps in the middle, and Keidean Coleman was an absolute star.
Time to jump into The Mongrel’s Big Questions and cover this one from top to bottom.
Oh, what the hell? A Mongrel paywall? Yep, I believe my work is worth twenty cents per day. If you don’t, that’s fine – catch ya when I post some free stuff. Of course, as the finals reviews will not unlock at any point, you’re welcome to join/rejoin to read.